The New Manual DSLR Project

Hi, and welcome to my blog. The Manual DSLR Project was started March 30, 2010 with the intent of devoting one year to learning how to use my Nikon D300 in manual mode. I invited you to join me as I took this journey. You celebrated with me as my fingers began to remember which wheel adjusts the shutter speed and which controls the aperture settings. I was brutally honest in sharing my mistakes.

A year passed quickly...and I achieved my goal of demystifying the manual operation of my camera.

While the Manual DSLR Project was intended to be bound by time (one year), I am eager to keep the conversation going. So look for additional posts on anything related to photography. And interact. Let me know if you are reading the blog and find it useful.

All the best...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Automatic ISO

I got the opportunity to "second shoot" (or actually third or fourth shoot) the "picture night" for our community college's production of Little Shop of Horrors earlier this week. This theater does such an excellent job and I usually see the shows several times.

Since there was such a variety of lighting situations I opted for using the automatic ISO selection on my D300. Though it helped me to quickly adjust to all kinds of lighting situations, it did tend to overexpose everything, which meant that I had to bump down the exposure in Lightroom. This first shot shows the guy who did the voice of the "Audrey II" (the plant) and the puppeteer, who happens to be my son, Cody, posing in a simulation of the curtain call. ISO 3200, f4.8, 1/160 sec.

The second shot is during one of the songs in which the dentist pulls the head off the little girl's doll. Very funny scene, but difficult to capture due to the fast movement and low light. This was shot at ISO 3200, f4.8 at 1/100 sec. Due to the high ISO, I applied some noise reduction to these shots. I enjoy being afforded the opportunity to shoot these since they really make me think about where the light is coming from. There are usually 100 or more scenes to be shot, which means that is is quite fast paced and you must think fast about how to make sure the light works for you.

So, what did I learn from this shooting situation? First of all, it taught me to be prepared as I grabbed my camera bag and headed out the door without checking to see if I had everything. I got to the shoot to find that I only had one battery (which was at 27%). Thankfully the battery lasted me the entire shoot, which netted about 215 usable shots. What are the dumbest mistakes you've ever made in photography? I have a bunch of them. Maybe I'll save that for another day's blog post. Ciao!

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